The US Video Game Industry Urges Lawmakers to Keep Esports Alive in Nevada

  • 04.29.2021
  • Press Releases

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Opposes Senate Bill (SB) 165 and
Efforts to Over-Regulate Video Games and Drive Esports out of Nevada

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 29, 2021 – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today calls upon Nevada lawmakers to abandon legislation establishing a first-of-its-kind government regulatory scheme with barriers that would ultimately harm the state’s vibrant and growing esports ecosystem. Introduced in early March, SB 165 would create the world’s first esports regulatory commission, empowered to impose wide ranging rules not found in other esports locations.

“Our member companies, as well as, event organizers, leagues and fans all appreciate the world-class esports facilities in Nevada,” President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Stanley Pierre-Louis said. “The proposed legislation in Nevada could have the unintended consequence of driving esports out of the state, which no one in the industry believes is a good thing for Nevada or esports.”

Like traditional sports, each video game in esports differs vastly, even within a particular genre. Trying to wrap all esports into one commission and framework would be akin to having one commission set the rules for amateur, collegiate, and professional soccer, baseball, football, tennis and chess (none of which are regulated individually under Nevada law). The Nevada bill would also subject players and hosts to onerous rules and fees that would not apply anywhere else in the U.S., putting the state’s entire esports ecosystem at a competitive disadvantage—and potentially driving events and investment elsewhere.

Unlike traditional sports, each esport competition is based on a game for which video game publishers own the underlying intellectual property and must be licensed to conduct the esports competitions.  Video game publishers invest heavily in the development of rules, compliance monitoring, and technical integrity measures (including trade secret information)—a highly efficient and effective self-regulatory approach. In 2019, the ESA and its international counterparts also released guiding principles for esports as part of the industry’s ongoing efforts to promote a safe, fair and welcoming esports environment.

According to some analysts, the global esports market has been valued at over $1 billion, with audiences reaching more than half a billion people in 2021. Until now, the video game industry and esports in Nevada have thrived. Several major esports tournaments and events have been held in Las Vegas, drawing legions of fans and video game enthusiasts from around the world.

The ESA and its members share the desire to see Nevada’s esports ecosystem grow. And with tourism beginning to return following the onset of COVID-19, now is the time to incentivize the continued growth of esports competitions in Nevada—not increase regulation as proposed in SB 165, which harms innovation and economic progress.

Members of the ESA include 505 Games US, Inc., Activision Blizzard, Amazon, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom USA Inc., CI Games, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Focus Home Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, GungHo Online Entertainment America, Inc., Intellivision Entertainment, LLC, Kalypso Media USA Inc., Koch Media Inc., Konami Digital Entertainment, Legends of Learning, Inc., Marvelous USA, INC. (XSEED), Microsoft (Xbox), Mythical Games, Nacon Gaming USA, Natsume, Inc., NCSOFT, Nexon America Inc., Nintendo of America, Nvidia, Paracosma, Rebellion Developments LTD, Riot Games, Inc., Sega of America, Inc., Six Foot, Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation), Square Enix, Inc., Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., Tencent America, THQ Nordic Inc., Ubisoft, Inc., Warner Brothers Entertainment Group and Wizards of the Coast LLC.

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About the ESA

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) serves as the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. Its members are the innovators, creators, publishers and business leaders that are reimagining entertainment and transforming how we interact, learn, connect and play. The ESA works to expand and protect the dynamic marketplace for video games through innovative and engaging initiatives that showcase the positive impact of video games on people, culture and the economy. For more information, visit the ESA’s website or follow the ESA on Twitter @theESA.

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